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tv   Best of Bloomberg Technology  Bloomberg  May 20, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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caroline: i am caroline hyde. this is the "best of bloomberg technology." we will bring all of our best interviews from this week in tech. this week we were live from boston showcasing the innovation of diversity and power. we were live from various locations in boston and we will bring all the highlights in our hour.
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coming up, the governor of massachusetts, charlie baker on the incentive to lure amazon to the state. plus, how does amazon hold its own? we'll hear from tom taylor. the celtics co-owner joins us. we will get his input on portfolios and the current nba season. now on tuesday we came to live from the chamber of commerce annual meeting at the boston convention and exhibition center. tom baroni joined us on set as we spoke with the governor of massachusetts charlie baker. this was on bloomberg television and 106.1 fm. take a listen. >> i think amazon will have a presence here one way or another . there would have several thousand employees here. they are adding several thousand more in a building that is right down the street here. i think they appreciate what we
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bring to the table. that is a wonderful collection of tech talent and it is a terrific environment generally. it is a great place to raise families and with great public school communities. >> when we had that awful winter in 2015 and 2016, we all remember it. you pledged to fix public transit. the mbta. i take the rail into boston every day, i am delayed, there are mechanical problems. i know there have been some improvements, but if we get amazon, are we going to be ready? gov. baker: today, i was inspecting new orders and new redline cars. they will be starting to land at the end of next year. they will land continuously, along with new redline cars, for
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the next several years. we are talking about 50% increases for the orange line and the red line, and two weeks ago, we had a proposal to add capacity on the green line over another 50% over the next decade. and we are also making investments all the time. i happen to think that these investments are good ones. all in, we are talking billions of dollars of infrastructure around public transportation. but we also have a futures commission that is taking a look at what the next step over the next 20, 30 years will be in transportation. i have a feeling that will have elements in it around electrical, autonomous vehicles. it may also change the game. but i believe we will be well-suited to deal with whatever comes with respect to employment and growth. >> i want to ask you for your regulatory outlook for the likes of airbnb. with building technology, sometimes the regulatory environment is not always as welcoming as airbnb would wish. what do you foresee in terms of that business and how it can
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function in boston? gov. baker: i have used the uber and lyft example as a precursor. we came up with what i think was the right framework for them to be able to operate. that was two years ago. last year in 2017, there were 65 million transportation networks rides in massachusetts. which is obviously a gigantic increase. the airbnb piece, i think we should do the same, come up with a regulatory model. for those people simply using it once in a while as a platform to support a summer house on the cape or something like that, fine, by all means, be my guest. but if you are going to be renting that room out 150 nights a year, as far as i'm concerned you're in the hotel business, and you ought to pay the same tax. >> we know in boston that the mayor has just come out with a new ordinance that says we are
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not going to tolerate these multiple unit owners, so-called stealth hotels. do you support what the mayor is doing in boston? will we see this across massachusetts? if you own many units, you are not going to go through airbnb? gov. baker: i think what is going on in boston is a reflection of what i would describe is hotelier behavior on the part of people buying and renting these units. i have sympathy, but what we ought to be able to do is solve this problem statewide and come up with a formula that works for everybody. but if you are going to be in the hotel business, you should pay hotel taxes like everybody else. a lot of those folks, for all intents and purposes, are in the hotel businesses. >> let's stick with the regulatory theme here. there's been a change in the regulatory environment. the supreme court will allow betting on sports. gov. baker: look, i think we
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should take it seriously. we had a leadership meeting with the legislation yesterday were we started talking about this. we are obviously going to talk to major league football, hockey basketball, and all the rest and get their sense about the thing. we will probably talk to the big platforms, like draftkings. that's located here in the commonwealth. and we will also talk to the folks in the casino business and get their say. it is hard for me to see how we could ignore this and choose not to pursue this. tom: are we going to see a commission established? who is going to police all of this? have you thought that out? gov. baker: i think that depends on what type of industry we end up supporting from a statutory point of view. depending upon where we land, we could use one model or another. but i think something will be on the radar and people will take it seriously. people would be in the position where they will literally be bidding on games, betting on games while they are going on. the whole notion of what will be
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possible under this is dramatically different than having sports book in vegas, period. this is a much more significant expansion. tom: it seems to me, governor, it is a lot like the marijuana business. it is new, unexplored territory. we have a cannabis commission, they are talking about cannabis cafes. all kinds of things, but it is slow going. do you see that sort of process evolving with sports betting? gov. baker: maybe. i'm of the opinion that slow going on the cannabis law that the cannabis commission is pursuing is the right way to go. there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how you police it, and regulate it. i think we will have the same kinds of questions with respect to sports betting. with that said, it is something we certainly have to take seriously and engage in an aggressive way with our colleagues in the legislature and the folks who are involved in the industry who are developed here. caroline: how are you engaged in terms of infrastructure projects? specifically, gas line projects.
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we have seen a few projects. why? is there a concern we will see more gas pipelines being built within massachusetts? gov. baker: a lot of that is decided by the government, not so much by the states. the two big projects we have related to us right now is the big hydro project coming down from canada the offshore, the deep water offshore wind project. those are both over 1000 megawatts. they are the two largest clean energy procurements in state history, and those are ones that we control through state statutes and working with our colleagues in other states to implement. caroline: that was massachusetts governor charlie baker. now, 3-d printing is still in its infancy, but it could disrupt the $12 trillion global manufacturing industry. some startups are quietly revolutionizing the business.
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we visited massachusetts-based whosep desktop metal products in stainless steel and other metals and recently brought on ford motor as a strategic investor. >> desktop metals is making 3-d metal printers in two sizes. >> this is the first machine that lets you print metal parts in an office. it can go through any door and be plugged in. >> and there is a larger one for mass production. >> it starts around half a million, and goes up based on configuration. >> the ceo explains it is the same inkjet technology that other 3-d printing machines use, but faster and cheaper than welding or melting metal. >> in the laser system, this part would be $80. this part is four dollars with our process. >> the goal is to make 3-d printing scalable on this production line for everything.
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>> this could be applied to everything from stainless steel to titanium. it suitable for many many applications. valves, heavy duty, airplane parts, high-end consumer products, many, many applications for this type of technology. >> 3-d printing has long been a novel technology, in search of a huge market. according to some, production applications for 3-d printing could eventually grab a -- 5% of -- at least 5% of the worldwide economy. it could translate into $640 billion in annual sales. other companies are taking notice. hp and 3-d systems are making the shift. >> it has been around for 20, 25 years. the reality is, today it was all prototyping. the bulk of it was prototyping. for the first time in the next 20 years it will be about in the part production. >> desktop metal counts bmw and caterpillar as customers.
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the company has raised $277 million with backing from ge ventures, lowe's, bmw, alphabet's venture arm, and most recently, ford. >> clearly, automotive is a great market for our technology and probably will be the largest market for this type of technology. >> desktop metal employs 150 people, mostly engineers. along with r&d, this latest funding round will increase that staff and reach, with plans to expand to more markets, europe and asia. caroline: still ahead, amazon alexa continues to dominate. we will hear from their executive, tom taylor, next. and if you like bloomberg news, check us out on the radio. you can listen on the bloomberg radio app,, and in the u.s. on sirius xm. this is bloomberg.
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caroline: now, back to our special coverage from the boston chamber of commerce's meeting. we next turned to the rise of the digital assistant in our everyday life. the latest breakthrough in the technological space has amazed and scared some people. when google's new program called duplex calls to make a restaurant reservation, it called a human on the other end of the line. duplex spoke and sounded just like you or i might, complete with hmms, ums, and pauses. now people are calling for ai assistants to identify themselves. one could be the voice for millions, and this is amazon's alexa. this is in a year were 61 million americans are using a voice enabled speaker, amazon is eating up that market share. currently, 67% of those people using the echo that comes with alexa.
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we spoke with someone intimately familiar with alexa, tom taylor, senior vice president for amazon's alexa. tom: certainly an interesting demo, much to be inspired by. i think it shows how important it is to start with the customer and really work backwards from the customer. that is something i believe amazon has always done from our very early days in retail. caroline: you have dominant market share of two thirds. how are you keeping up with innovations when you remain that accomplished? tom: it is lots of things. we are very excited by the success we have had and the reaction customers have had with alexa. i think there are many things we will do over the many years. rattling them off, first of all we believe very much in many, there will be many ai's who win. we do not think there will be one. in fact, we would encourage that. as an example, we recently demoed alexa talking with cortana, and there will be more.
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whether it is ai or bloomberg -- -- or if bloomberg were to have one. caroline: google, for example? tom: it would be interesting. is the same interaction to talk with as many friends and experts that you know. two, we want to make the ability for developers and builders to create their own ai. that is very important. we have done this through tens of thousands of developers and tens of thousands of skilled they can build, even down to recently we released a product called blueprint which allowed you or i to make a simple skill that people are doing at a local level. finally, we believe in what we might call ambient computing, which is you should be able to hear and talk to your technology anywhere. that is the power people have seen with voice. i am not tethered to my keyboard or my phone, but any time i can speak. so i think you will see alexa being successful in the home. at work, in the car, on the go, everywhere.
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caroline: we are dominant in terms of broadcasting music and asking questions, but when do you want to see a pickup making inroads sooner rather than later? where is the low hanging fruit? tom: sure. as we listen to customers, they are saying this is great in my home. if i would like to listen to music, i would like that to go along with me when i go to the gym or when i go to the car. i think there are many other use cases of skills that you provide. think about all of the assistance. how alexa might be able to save you time, do your own mental thinking. we will explore all those different directions. caroline: in boston, you have a significant canon here in building out alexa. is the competition getting more fierce given the frenemies? tom: as you know and as we all know, boston has been an incredible tech hub. we have been here many years. we have 1200 employees that are
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scientists, machine learning experts, linguists, so it is fascinating to have the ability to attract talent from the universities and industry. and we recently announced that we are opening new buildings here and will be hiring thousands more employees over the coming years. boston is a great tech hub for us. caroline: when you are looking at building out these tech hubs, building up the power of voice enabled assistants, what about the issues or concerns that you and i have about listening? how have you tackled that in terms of engagement using data and public relations? tom: it is a great question. i think every consumer should be concerned about privacy. i think amazon has done a great job starting with the customer, working backwards. but take the example of listening. people often -- it is incorrect that alexa is always listening. she is waiting to hear this word, alexa. until then, that is only happening on the device. it is not going to the cloud.
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that is one of many protections we have. we have a mute button. we have the ability to control records that she has. we don't sell your data. alexa does not sell your data. so there are many things that we feel are very aligned with the customer, and that is what builds trust over the long term. easily lost, hard won. caroline: that was tom taylor, senior vice president for amazon alexa. when it comes to e-commerce, the first name that pops up is usually amazon. but in the role of online furniture sales, wayfair is the largest in the u.s. they are using augmented reality to enhance that experience. >> it's virtual reality for retail. >> there you go. >> there we go. the grill goes on the patio. >> in its quest to become the largest online home furnishing store, wayfair's going high-tech.
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>> we have about 10 million products on our site and we are trying to rapidly build a catalog of 3-d models that let's -- lets us offer a huge selection of models for our customers to visualize in their home. >> through oculus rift or a smartphone using the wayfair app, shoppers scan a room or outdoor living area, select the piece of furniture and see what it would look like in the space , exactly to scale. >> four patio chairs and a table and i am trying to move them to decide where i want to put them. >> steve is the cochair of wayfair. as this boston company has grown, so too has the size of its engineering team, along with the complexity of the software features they are building. >> we are currently in the wayfair next lab space. wayfair next is a team we put together to help innovate on augmented virtual reality solutions. >> the company is innovating the
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$116 billion home furnishing industry, and its progress is exciting investors. but questions remain about its long-term viability. wayfair is not turning a profit and e-commerce competition is heating up as amazon and walmart ramp up their home goods categories. but wayfair hopes its focus on presentation can pay off. >> if we can make a tool that makes it better to shop while you are in your home, that is helpful for us on a bottom line. it helps keeps customers excited about using our platform, excited about shopping for furniture and home decor on the internet. >> the more description and imagery to help customers make purchases, the fewer returns wayfair will see. that is leading to more repeat customers. >> look at that, wow. caroline: still ahead, boston-based defense contractor radian is a global leader in
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technology driven solutions, for critical defensive needs. we catch up with ceo tom kennedy next. this is bloomberg. ♪
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caroline: now, back to our special coverage this week on bloomberg technology from boston. defense contractor raytheon is a global leader in technology driven solutions, providing systems for defense and nondefense needs. we caught up with their ceo tom kennedy while in boston, and asked him about his decision to remain in the city. >> numerous universities, you have m.i.t., harvard, boston university, university of massachusetts, tufts, a whole set of universities that provide folks with technical skills required to work in the industry and business but also help to develop the next generation systems and solutions that will be able to compete in a global marketplace. caroline: what are the next generation of system and
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solutions? what do you see being built here? >> the whole area of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and how you apply them to your product solutions is a whole new wave of capability we are looking at significantly and putting those type of products into our solutions that we provide customers. caroline: 3-d printing? is that a key factor? >> we call it additive manufacturing, which opens a new door for companies relative to their supply chain. do they build those products within their company or do they have them done outside? so it is a whole new dilemma in terms of figuring that out. additive manufacturing is going to change the way we do manufacturing in the future. there is also -- one of the things that has changed here in terms of technology, for years we thought we were on a linear curve in terms of technology. one of the aspects was called moore's law, every 18 months you double your processing speed. in today's world, we are on an exponential curve. we are right at the knee of that curve right now. some of the technologies -- you mentioned one, additive manufacturing, but also machine
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learning, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology. all of these technologies are coming together at the same time that are really going to change the way we live and the way we work and the way we do business in the world in the future. caroline: as a business leader, how do you ensure you are ahead of the curve and the startups? >> we hire the best people we can, and those best people are in boston. we hire from the best universities and the best universities are in boston. caroline: what about the talent diversity and the pool of talent you have? so much focus on the fact that you need the best talent, but you need to ensure it is the the right sort of working environment as well with women, minorities. how are you focused on that? >> we find to get the best product development, it helps to have diversity of thought and have a diverse team putting those products and solutions together, because our customers are diverse. right? so to be able to provide the right solutions, it helps to have a diverse team developing those solutions. and the issue we are facing -- not just raytheon, all technology companies -- is how
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do you get a diverse workforce in today's environment when there are not a lot of women that are coming out of universities with science and technology and engineering degrees? so that is an area where companies are working to drive that solution and fix that solution. caroline: how are you helping drive it? >> we are heavily involved in science, technology, engineering, and math activities. example, one program we just started up is with the girl scouts of america, working with them on stem initiatives and a stem badge so if they do certain projects, they wind up with a stem badge for the girl scouts. caroline: that was raytheon ceo tom kennedy. coming up, chairman of the boston celtics joins us for an extended conversation. his take on this week's supreme court ruling on single-game gambling. and a reminder that all episodes of bloomberg technology are now live streaming on twitter. check us out, 5:00 p.m. in new york, 2:00 p.m. in san
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francisco. this is bloomberg. ♪
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caroline: welcome back to the "best of bloomberg technology." i'm caroline hyde. this week we are showcasing the innovation, diversity, and power of boston's tech economy. and of course this week the u.s. supreme court struck down a federal law that had barred single game gambling in most of the country, giving states leeway to legalized gambling on individual sporting events. the decision will no doubt have a huge impact on professional leagues in the u.s. we spoke with steve pagliuca, bain capital co-chair and the co-owner of boston celtics about joint -- about just this as he joined us from his home turf of boston's institute of contemporary art. steve my understanding is it is : focused on state's rights more
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than anything else. so we will see how that plays out. they have gambling all over the rest of the nations, as you know, in the u.k., soccer gambling, so forth. i think it will play out as a state's right rule. caroline: something that massachusetts should approach? steve: that is up to the state. you know, the attorney general is great here and i am sure he , will figure it out. interesting we will not be hearing from -- caroline: interesting we will not be hearing from adam silver. he has been a relative supporter, saying overall, we have to ensure the legitimacy of the sport remains intact. but do you think that it would affect the game in any way? steve: i think with adam silver as commissioner, the game has always had a high integrity with david stern and adam silver. it is their highest priority. and it will remain so whether anything changes in gambling or not. people want to see a fair game, and they do an incredible job putting that on. caroline: would you like to see the nba take a cut of the gambling? steve: that is up to adam silver
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in the group. we are focused on trying to win a championship with the boston celtics. we're really enjoying what is going on right now. caroline: there is talk about that. yesterday, the win is all i heard about. as i got the train down from new york. the focus on a phenomenal performance against the cavaliers. what does this mean for you for the rest of the season? steve: well, it is only one game, but we are proud of the team. obviously when you have two of the top players go out with injuries, many teams fold. brad stevens and the team pulled together. and a young team really has stepped up. it is a fantastic kind of cinderella story. so i love watching it every night, and they are competing very hard. they are playing as a team. it is wonderful to watch. caroline: what does it mean for the brand, for the franchise? steve: the franchise has been strong before we purchased it. it is an iconic franchise. it is really more we feel like we are stewarding the asset for boston and massachusetts and new england. and this story makes it even stronger. you know young players coming , in, looking at those 17 banners up there, one of them on our watch, really inspires them. we have a fantastic coach and fantastic general manager.
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of course i think the best ceo in sports and co-owner. so things are looking good right now. right now we knock on wood or glass. we are hoping for the best every night. lebron is a transcendent player. you can never count lebron out. this was one game. we are off to a great start. caroline: let's talk about stewarding assets, the investment side of your focus, particularly when it comes to cyber chips, software, you are in it when it is at bain capital. where do you see the most value at the moment? we do see price points at a lofty level across many industries right now. steve: absolutely. i think any industry price, and they are especially high in tech. so we have done over 150 deals through bad cycles good cycles, , chip deals. the key is how we can focus and change the company's trajectory. that can outweigh the ups and downs of pricing and allow you to buy companies in these frothy markets. so for example buying two
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companies that once and putting them together and getting synergy trying to grow a company , through multiple acquisitions, trying to grow a company through exporting rather than selling domestically. so we try to be disciplined in these markets. and so far, that has been successful. our funds have done well. but i would say our word right now is to be disciplined, to use our folks, and we were really founded as a group that can help management teams develop strategies and grow companies. and we are just going back to our roots even stronger in each vertical market that we have. caroline: how does the environment affect you in terms of -- in the moment we are all talking about data, privacy, the fact, the way in which companies monetize that. how does that affect how you look at assets, particularly in the internet and software space? steve: well, it is certainly an issue with any internet software company that collects data. if you take a step back, almost every business is a tech business. technology in this time, it has kind of revolutionized or at
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least evolutionized every business we are looking at. we spent a day with our global partner group, meeting with the gartner group, to discuss how technology trends and how they affect banking, consumer companies, and the game has changed. so every investment you do, you need to factor that in. in terms of the privacy issue that is an important point as , well. i think the companies are responding in a good way to kind of refence that in. the positive of having data, for example, i like getting customized ads for the things i like. caroline: yeah. steve: so if you can do that in a responsible way, which i think companies are trying to do, that they are working with the government to do that that will , be good for everybody. caroline: talk about the government and how that affects the way you invest, you have looked at assets in china. when you have these sort of geopolitical risks or trade skirmishes, how does that affect your willingness to do business in a country like china, for example? steve: well we have been , successful in asia and china in general. we think the long-term view is, it is a great developing market. we think china is coming towards
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the world economies and not going against it. they are implementing more rules that are favorable for investment. we are hopeful the ongoing discussions will result in a even better climate. you have to weigh that in and pick your spots where you think you can be successful and not successful. so we have a great on the field team in china who understands all that, and we have been successful because of that. spots that you can be successful, where are the spots where you can be successful? you are looking at opportunities. where is exciting you? steve: in boston in general, 40% of the people in boston are involved somehow in innovation. we have been fortunate we are on -- we are the hub of innovation. you see things at harvard, the engineering school, companies here. turbo, a company, vm that is growing rapidly for our venture fund. we are looking at all things, how the internet affects companies, how you can add value there, so certainly technology is a hot and growing
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area for our venture perspective and for a bio perspective. when you have to factor in is, what do you have to pay for these companies? i could tell you, hotspots here and hotspots there. if you are paying too much, you won't make a return. we try to take that disciplined approach where we find a company that can be transformative, really reduce costs for a company give them better , marketing materials, whatever, and we invest in those companies to build and grow them to be immune to devaluation issues. caroline: how difficult when you have such juggernauts coming into the space, particularly in venture, for example softbank's vision fund, $100 billion to put to work, do you feel that they are disciplined themselves? are they what is driving the frothiness? or is it something else? steve: well i think in general, , the economies of the world are doing well. we have come out of the crisis of 2008, the banks are stabilized in the united states. every restaurant is full, every plane is full as you know traveling around. we are in a good situation on the face of it economically,
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globally. so softbank is an issue, but not for us. our venture funds are smaller. they can be more selective. softbank is trying to make large bets on companies that they are going to try to gain share on globally. it doesn't affect us as much per se. what really affects us is in general, there is a lot of money chasing deals. that comes back to our theme song which we will say is to be disciplined and to stick to what we know, which we have been doing for 30 years, finding companies that can grow, take share, and work. caroline: do you look at the economies as they grow, do you think interest rates changing could affect the frothiness? could we start to see assets pulling back in terms of evaluation? steve: i think we will see a pull back if interest rates go up dramatically. i don't foresee interest rates, no one can predict interest rates but if you look at the , situations in most of the world economies and governments, there is a lot of debt in the governments themselves. so for example, our national debt is $20 trillion. i think when i came out of business school, it was $1 trillion.
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if interest rates went back to the levels of 5%, 5.5%, i don't think many governments could afford to have high interest rates. a prudent approach would be raising them very slowly, and hopefully that will mitigate a large fallback. when they go up, valuations go down. caroline: interesting you just launched a real estate team. how is that affected by interest rates going up slowly or dramatically? what is the focus there? steve: it is really, really the same issue. real estate's are more stable assets. we have had a great team come over to bain capital from harvard, who has been a top worked out great. -- performer for the last 10 years. it worked out great. we are excited about that team. they will be selective. they stick to specific niches, that they know about, for example, funding biotech office space, doctor office space, things that have demand and will last the test of time and withstand some of these interest may rate increases. caroline: excited about teams at bain and excited about teams, celtics. it is great to have you here. steve: been very fortunate.
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i don't think we have a better team at bain, and certainly i hope the celtics' magic will continue. caroline: that was steve pagliuca, bain co-chair and co-owner of the boston celtics. meanwhile reebok is using 3d technology to break the mold. bloomberg's reporter visited the boston-based company's headquarters to see how it is using proprietary liquid material, software and robotics to draw shoes in three dimensional layers. reporter: the footwear industry is seeing a jump-start in technology. nike's hyper adapt made self-lacing shoes a reality. adidas' future craft introduced 3d printing with comfort and now reebok's liquid factory is making intricate lightweight designs along with the company's 100% recyclable footwear line, cotton and corn.
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>> this is our 3d printing lab. reporter: bill mcginnis is head of reebok's future. >> liquid factory is a way to get away from using molds like every other shoe in the market does and draw the bottom of the shoe instead. so this is like 3d printing only much, much faster. reporter: it is an effort to streamline production and keep up with younger consumers. >> the big goal is to go from we're going to make 1 million pairs of one shoe in the exact type and hope everybody likes it, and that was kind of the old model. and now we're moving to smaller and smaller batches. 10,000 instead of 100,000. and as you get tighter and tighter, you can get closer and closer to custom. reporter: and how is that a benefit to reebok? what are the benefits of new manufacturing? >> so you can get a lot faster. you can react much more quickly to the consumers. reporter: reebok is not alone. parent company adidas and rivals nike and under armour have also moved into the 3d printed sneaker game.
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but reebok's liquid factory material is proprietary. the process uses computer software and robotics to draw shoes in three dimensions. >> we're actually faster than the old model right now. so each bottom unit takes a couple of minutes to put together, and again it is all automated. reporter: adidas bought reebok in 2006 for $3.8 billion, then in 2010, began a turnaround to reposition it as a fitness brand by signing a partnership with crossfit. but reebok today is the one unit that remains unprofitable. still, adidas says it is committed to the future of reebok and moved its headquarters from the boston suburbs to downtown this year. >> the spirit of the company has changed dramatically. i mean, we were always a very established shoe brand. moving down here, being in the excitement of this district, i think has the whole place feeling like a startup.
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reporter: it does "feel like a startup," breathing new life into its classic white leather sneaker. bloomberg, boston. caroline: coming up, boston has become a standout city for test driving self-driving cars. and we got an inside peek at optimus ride's indoor track. that's ahead. this is bloomberg. ♪
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caroline: now to our next stop on our tour of boston techs, optimus ride, and its indoor riding track. in the race for autonomous vehicles, boston is one of a handful u.s. cities leading the charge to test self-driving cars. in 2017 the city launched a testing program of autonomous cars on public roads within the
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sea port district. that's where lyft's self-driving car pilot kicked off in december. and start up optimus ride recently relocated its headquarters. our bloomberg reporter got an inside look at the indoor track here at optimus ride. ♪ this self-driving vehicle start-up is on a roll. the company is optimus ride, a play on the transformers robots. and it is located in boston's sea port. its small fleet of test vehicles is navigating an indoor city. >> this is our test track, our indoor test track. we call it optimus city. it is the size of several city blocks. we are able to configure this to change the lane markers. we can configure this to any type of intersection we want. five way complicated boston intersection, a typical four-way intersection with stop signs.
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ceo and cofounder ryan chin said optimus ride is different than other start-ups in that they are not focused on long distance, but on the last mile of transportation. right now they are testing at union point, a nearby housing development, driving residents to the local train station. this is different from companies such as uber which are testing autonomous driving for longer trips. the recent pedestrian death in arizona shut down testing in boston, but just for a day. optimists ride restarted after safety review. >> there is a goal of educating the public. whenever you have a new technology, you have to educate the public. we believe if you start i would say in the medium speed environment, a vehicle that is going 20, 30 miles an hour, it is much better than going to a high-speed vehicle that is autonomous as well. adoption has to start at those speed regimes. reporter: this m.i.t. spinoff has about 60 employees and chin expects to grow to 150 by
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mid-2019. they plan to expand their fleet of electric vehicles to 50 by the end of this year. >> we also expect the growth to be nonlinear, especially around engineering, specifically in the areas of robotics computer , vision, machine intelligence. reporter: with more than $23 million from investors, optimus ride is searching for more partners. >> we have many partners already, and we are actually adding more partners as we go. one of the big partners is nvidia. they are an investor in our company as well as a partner. they make the top gpu's for self driving cars, so they are a great partner for us. they build all the computers that go into our vehicles. they process all of that information. we have other partnerships with the perkins school for the blind here in watertown, massachusetts. they are a big advocacy group for equitable mobility. reporter: optimus ride plans to remain private. the biggest challenge will be competition with the giants in the race to release self driving cars, not just manufacturers
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like volkswagen and hyundai, but also google. bloomberg, boston. caroline: that was ryan chin, ceo of optimus ride. coming up, we head to our next stop in our boston tech tour, fenway park. sports tech with red sox president sam kennedy. that's next. this is bloomberg. ♪
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caroline: welcome back to a special edition of "the best of bloomberg technology" and our week-long coverage from boston. on thursday, we broadcast from none other than fenway park, the home of the red sox, and we kicked things off with the red sox president sam kennedy. take a listen. sam: we have got lots of young fans coming through our gates, and we have got to make sure they are connected at all times, whether it is enhanced wi-fi, so people can be connected on the social media accounts. it is something that we focus on, the fan experience, when people come here. they need to be connected to each other not just the ballpark , but to their friends around the world. it is really important for us. major league baseball has spent a lot of money on upgrading the technology around its 30 ballparks and interacting with fans on its website. social channels, so it is really a priority for us as we look to grow the game and as we move into the future. caroline: you get sellout games
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anyway. do you really need to innovate? how do you keep pushing yourself? sam: we do. we never want to take for granted that people are going to just keep coming through the gates at fenway. we have 3 million people that come year in and year out not just for baseball but concerts, and for other events whether it is international soccer games, college football, even outdoor ice hockey in the winter. so we tried to do new and different things to make sure people are coming to fenway throughout the year, and we are lucky to have such a loyal fan base. caroline: it has been a weird off-season. we saw a lot of free agents were not going unsigned until the last minute. is that changing the way people are willing to spend money on players? does that make it different? sam: it will be interesting to see. it was a very slow moving off-season around the league. perhaps the red sox were the exception. we invested heavily in free agency and re-signing some of our existing players, so we have one of the highest payrolls, if not the highest payroll in the game. we continued -- john henry and
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tom warner continue to invest, and we will see. it may have been a moment in time in terms of the market conditions being a little bit different -- who was available, what teams were looking to get under the competitive balance tax threshold. we will see how next off-season develops, and you will look back in three or four years, and see if it was a blip on the radar or a trend as we move forward. that is yet to be determined. caroline: how do you ensure that the franchise looking -- will keep raising enough money and do investment in the players? sam: you have to be focused on the fan experience, making sure that red sox fans who are the smartest fans in baseball, are getting a great experience when they come here. and they want to have fun. they want to enjoy good, competitive baseball, but they also want to enjoy the other amenities throughout the ballpark, whether it is kids getting involved with our virtual reality activities, or augmented reality through our baseball card collection. caroline: it is tech-heavy then? sam: it is tech heavy, but you also have to balance that with a reminder that sometimes people want to come to a ballpark to get away from electronic devices and screens.
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so, we need to cater to both audiences. but we need to recognize that if we are going to grow the game, we have to be investing in technology because the next generation is a tech-savvy generation. they are on their mobile devices 7, 8 nine hours a day, and we , have to recognize that and we need to be there. caroline: what might put people on the mobile device more is that they can bet on sports. now, i come from a country in the u.k. where we do bet on sports. and it looks as though your supreme court might allow it to occur here in the united states. how will that change the game do you think? sam: well we'll see what , happens. major league baseball has been very proactive in working with the state officials to see how it is going to work. the supreme court said the states can decide whether to legalize sports betting. so major league baseball has been working with the individual states and the legislators to see how this is all going to play out. most importantly for us, we think it is a good thing. because there will be regulation of sports betting. we know it is happening. there is a massive amount of illegal activity taking place. so if the government can
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regulate that activity, it is a good thing. it gives safety, makes sure that integrity of the game is preserved. and then we will see what the other benefits may be, whether there is more fan engagement, more interest in the sports. that has happened around the world, especially when you mentioned international football. so, i think that will occur, but it is a little bit early to see as the supreme court, just ruled -- supreme court just ruled early this week, but we see it as a positive development and we're watching it very closely. caroline: how will you protect the players? sam: the players, you know, they need to be subject to the rules that all of us in baseball will be subject to which exist, that you cannot bet on baseball if you're involved with the sport. that is obvious. and i think through greater regulation and monitoring of gambling activities, that will be aided and expanded. so, major league baseball is all over it. they are working with adam silver of the nba, jay monahan of the pga tour, making sure that sports governing bodies are
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linked and aligned in this as we enter this brave new world. caroline: should you take a cut? should sports get a cut? sam: i think it is appropriate for the sport to get some kind of integrity fee. there will be a lot of expenses incurred are the individual sports to monitor the activity, certainly the intellectual property, the investment that the industry makes, whether it is, you know $9 billion, $10 , billion invested. put that content out there. i think it is appropriate, but that is up to the government to decide. caroline: that was red sox president sam kennedy. and that does it for this special edition of "the best of bloomberg technology" and our full coverage from boston. we'll bring you the latest in tech throughout the week. be sure to tune in next week when we head to paris for full coverage of president macron's meeting with global tech leaders. remember, all episodes are now live streaming on twitter. check us out at technology weekdays. that's all for now. this is bloomberg. ♪
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